INDEPENDENCE: Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson had a lot of mending to do this summer, both on and off the court. His surgically repaired ankle needed months of recovery. His shooting touch remains under repair.
Gibson is inching closer to 100 percent health after missing the final month of the season with the torn tendon in his ankle, deeming himself “95 percent” healthy recently. The full recovery took about four months, and although he joined his teammates in Las Vegas for summer league workouts, he didn’t return to playing five-on-five basketball until September.
Gibson has dealt with his share of injuries over the years, but this was the most serious and the first that required surgery.
“It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my basketball career, hands down,” he said. “Just the mental grind of trying to get there, then when you get there having more and more and more steps to take. It wears down on you mentally, but I’m built for it and strong enough to handle it. Now it’s just getting over that final hurdle to being the player I’ve always been.”
That player vanished last season. Gibson shot a career-worst 35 percent and 39 percent on 3-pointers. It was just the second time in his seven years he shot less than 40 percent on 3-pointers.
“It probably was one of Boobie’s worst years since he’s been in the league,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “But I’ve liked what I’ve seen the last two or three weeks. I thought the last two preseason games, he’s starting to come to life and the shot is starting to fall for him.”
Gibson is shooting just 32 percent in the preseason, but that’s because of a dreadful start to camp when he made 8-of-31 shots through the first four preseason games. He shot 50 percent (6-of-12) in his past two games, including 5-of-9 on 3-pointers. He missed Tuesday’s preseason finale with a concussion, but was cleared and has already rejoined the team.
“The last week of practice, he’s been excellent,” Scott said. “It’s a little like Kyrie [Irving]. I really wasn’t worried about Kyrie and I knew with Boobie, once he started getting into the flow, he would get better. The last two games of the preseason was an indication of what he can do.”
Gibson’s best season shooting the ball was three seasons ago, when he made 47 percent of his 3-pointers. The Cavs need him to at least return to the 40 percent 3-point shooter he was two seasons ago, Scott’s first year in Cleveland.
The Cavs have made 38 percent of their 3-pointers during the preseason to rank ninth in the league. Scott is confident with Irving and C.J. Miles, a career 42 percent shooter on 3s, the Cavs will have enough 3-point shooting — provided Gibson returns to form.
His reality television show, Family First, which airs at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays on BET, has been a hit. Gibson said the premiere episode was the highest rated of all reality show premieres in 2012.
“We’re getting a lot of great feedback,” Gibson said. “It started out mushy. It heats up and intensifies and shows real life. There are a few episodes where it will keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Gibson and his wife, Keyshia Cole, are executive producers on the show, giving them final say on content.
“We make sure anything that we present, it’s the kind of image we both want to portray,” he said. “It’s fun for people to see what life is like for me and my family. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Scott said he has made up his mind on both the 15-man roster and his starting lineup, but won’t announce anything until Sunday or Monday. The Cavaliers have three cuts left to make. They could come as early as today, although final rosters aren’t due to the league until 5 p.m. Monday.
“I’m pretty happy with the decision I’ve made,” Scott said. “I think it’s going to give us a little more balance.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.